"Let down by the system." It's how one Black American describes her long wait on a list of candidates for organ donation.
Post Bulletin investigative reporter Nora Eckert, as part of a three-part series on organ donations, reported that in Minnesota, Black people comprise 13% of the waiting list, but only about 7% of the population.
Donors, meanwhile, also are predominantly white. Race isn't a barrier to transplanting internal organs; however patients of similar backgrounds may be more likely to successfully match.
Getting more Black donors is seen as critical.
“At the end of the day if we don't increase the number of people of color donating, we're never going to eliminate the waitlist,” said Janice Whaley, CEO of Donor Network West in California. She is the first Black female to be in a position like hers.
This is a complicated issue, where historical mistrust between Black patients and the medical treatment and research industries plays a big role.
You can read Eckert's full report at this link.
How do I register to be a donor?
- You can register to be an organ donor with the national Donate Life registry or your local state registry. Both should be checked to confirm if you are a registered donor, and you can register in both.
- According to Donate Life America’s website, “Any adult age 18 or older can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor – regardless of age or medical history; 15-17 year olds can register their intent to be organ, eye and tissue donors in the National Donate Life Registry. However, until they are 18 years old, a parent or legal guardian makes the final donation decision.”
- For Minnesota residents, you can register here: https://www.lifesourcedonorregistry.org/.
- To register on the national registry, visit this link: https://registerme.org/. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.